How to Prepare a Winning Product Hunt Launch ft. Kairn
Launching on Product Hunt — it’s an important milestone in the journey of many startups. At eFounders, we’ve launched countless products on the platform: Station (eF17) was voted Product of the Year, accumulating over 9000 upvotes.
But putting your product out on the site is no easy feat: it takes time, preparation and let’s face it — a little bit of luck. Kairn (eF20), a productivity tool to help you regain control over your days, is launching today. Our Core Team been doing hard work with Kairn over the past week, making sure everything goes smoothly come D-Day.
Here’s how Kairn prepared a winning launch on Product Hunt, and the tips and tricks we learned that could help you do so too.
Monday — Create a concise and authentic Product Hunt video
The video is the first thing users see on your Product Hunt, so it’s essential that it grabs viewers’ attention. With the help of Mathilde, Business Associate at Kairn, we used our clip as an opportunity to demonstrate three key features of our product: shared workspace for team collaboration, task capture linking tasks to the page you created them on, and integrations such as Notion. We edited our video on iMovie, but there are other options out there, including Adobe Voice for voiceovers and Vidra.
We chose to have Kairn CEO Patricia explain these features herself all throughout the video, with a webcam showing her face. Some opt for fancy animated videos with automated voiceovers — and while these may look nice, the video is arguably less compelling as you lose the human touch behind the product. Always prioritize authenticity over aesthetics.
“Always prioritize authenticity over aesthetics”
It’s also important to keep concise: you don’t need to tell your startup’s story from day 1. The video shouldn’t last more than 1–2 minutes. Let people know how you can solve a problem, and do so in an engaging way. With regards to format, remember that Product Hunt only supports videos uploaded from YouTube, so don’t try to use platforms as Vimeo or Dailymotion, and make sure the video is set to public.
“ Let people know how you can solve a problem, and do so in an engaging way”
Finally, remember that people won’t necessarily watch your video with sound, so be sure to include subtitles. It’s also a good idea to adapt your video to Product Hunt. In ours, we included a playful wink to Product Hunt by capturing tasks on the platform itself — some startups even go so far to include famous Golden Kitty in their videos.
Tuesday — Write carefully curated PH Page Content
Sarah, Communications Manager in our Core Team, has been busy making sure the text on the PH page- from the tagline to the description and everything in between, is the best that it can possible be come D-day.
Keep the tagline short and sweet: around 6 words should be enough to describe your product. Any more and people will simply gloss over it. At its core, the tagline must describe the value your product brings and nothing more: ours is to help users regain control over their days. It doesn’t need to be too specific: you can get into the ‘how’ of your product in the description.
“Keep the tagline short and sweet”
As for the description, this is where you can give more information about what the product is and/or does within 260 characters. We chose3 lines describing:
- how Kairn can help its users
- who it’s for
- a call-to-action
As for the Maker’s comment, briefly introduce yourself, the team, and the problem that you’re solving. In 3–4 sentences, explain what the value prop is, what’s the use case, who it’s for, and why you are building it. As Product Hunt itself says, make it as easy as possible for the user to care. Communicate the value your product provides to the people you’re trying to reach, even if that means leaving out 95% of the features.
Wednesday — Mass-schedule social media posts and plan your community building
Your product hunt launch is a marathon, not a race. Building a community ahead of the launch is key to succeeding on the day. In order to have a successful launch, you need at least a small group of supporters who will advocate for your product. Remember: Product Hunt doesn’t create momentum. It amplifies momentum. Building community takes longer than you think, and it requires consistency and thorough knowledge of your users — so make sure you have it before launching.
“You need at least a small group of supporters who will advocate for your product”
Where you build that community is entirely up to you. We’re active on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Slack, but out of these four Twitter and Slack are most definitely more community-oriented- Instagram is more showy, and LinkedIn oriented towards selling rather than genuine community creation.
Ahead of the launch, eFounders Content Manager Joseph helped prepare a backlog of posts to get the word out about our launch all throughout the day. The window to get your your product to ‘Product of the Day’ starts and ends at 0:00 PT — so if you’re based in Europe like us, your best bet it to start posting at 9 AM CET.
To make the most of your community, it’s important that you automate your posts, humans can only do so much of the work. We’re posting across 4 accounts — our company’s, eFounders’, Patricia’s personal account and a handful of other accounts — so we decided to schedule all these posts via our friend at Typefully. That said, while automating posts is a good idea logistically, do not automate interactions with your community- replies happen in real-time and you should respond to them in real-time.
In addition, don’t hesitate to leverage proxy communities — those that you know through personal connection. For us at Kairn, this was the Station F Slack channel which we recently joined, or the eFounders network. It could even be your school’s Facebook group. Just make sure that the people within these communities have used Product Hunt previously, as this will make the upvotes on your product more legitimate and boost your ranking.
“Community building should be at its strongest when you’re asking people to take action”
Finally, you can even build community on launch day itself. Community building should be at its strongest when you want people to take action, in this case to check out your product on Product Hunt. For D-day, we prepared a Gather space where our community can meet us in a virtual room and join in on discussions around Kairn.
Thursday: Create a realistic yet compelling gallery and redesign website
Patricia, CEO of Kairn, has been busy managing the redesign of our website in preparation for the launch. We partnered with agency Alasta to give a fresh new look to our landing page, with copy that Content Manager Sarah helped put together. Product Hunt is often reduced to what users sees on Product Hunt itself, but it’s important to remember there needs to be substance behind it: there’s no point in being Product of the Day if your website doesn’t generate conversions.
“There’s no point in being Product of the Day if your website doesn’t generate conversions”
It’s also important that you get your gallery pictures right. The recommended size for images in the gallery is 1270x760. Once the images have been uploaded, you can also drag and drop to re-order them. The gallery will need 2+ images before being viewable.
Though the video plays first, these pictures are still pivotal as many who lack the time will skip the video to directly view the pictures to see the features. On a recent Product Hunt post, many commented that they only needed to look at the pictures to figure the product out.
What’s more, your gallery need to remain realistic while also being eye-catching. The worst thing you can do is deliver false promises to potential users, showing off visuals or features on Figma mockups that don’t actually exist in the product yet. Don’t over-promise to new users — you can always update your gallery as you roll out more features.
“The worst thing you can do with your gallery is deliver false promises to potential users.”
Friday — Plan success stories and enjoy the calm before the Storm
Leveraging your existing happy users is key to a successful Product Hunt launch. Nothing induces more credibility than users vouching for your product. Throughout our launch, Business Associate Arnaud has put Laurent from Foochéri and other ardent Kairn users the spotlight, framed in a nifty design that follows Kairn’s new branding. Social proof leads to brand advocates, and advocates lead to conversions. You can preach about your product’s benefits all you want, but no one’s going to believe you until a third party has praised it themselves.
“Nothing induces more credibility than users vouching for your product”
Finally, make sure to get some rest before the big day. You’ve spent weeks preparing- it’s going to be a long, busy 24 hours, and you don’t want all that hard work to go to waste due to avoidable mishaps caused by stress and lack of sleep.
Check that you’ve done everything on this list, and you’re set to cross it all off on Kairn — we wish you all the best for the launch!